About the 2020 Census

Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates a count of the population to apportion seats in the House of Representatives.  The next Census Day will be April 1, 2020.  It will be the 24th decennial census of the nation and one of the most challenging.

In particular, a last-minute citizenship question was inserted into the 2020 Census in the name of enforcing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act two years before the Census Day.  This webpage provides a chronological description of the key events and developments leading into the 2020 Census.


Chronological events

Date Milestone Events Description
2018/04/13 Science Magazine report: Trump officials claim they can avoid 2020 census problems caused by controversial citizenship question. Experts are very skeptical Report on expert opinions on impact of citizenship question especially on the limitations of administrative records.
2018/04/12 For a thorough summary of the the current debate about the citizenship question on the #census2020, pulling together many pieces, see this piece by Jeremy Wu American Statistical Association Science Policy tweet
2018/04/09 Personal LinkedIn blog: The Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census: Protecting Civil Rights or Pretext to Shift Political Power? A comprehensive description of the historical context, an overview of the standard principles and practices for conducting the decennial census, a summary assessment of the Commerce Secretary’s justification and the opposing views, and a personal view of how the controversy may be resolved.
2018/03/29 Census Bureau Press Release CB18-55: Census Bureau Submits Planned Questions for 2020 Census to Congress Census Bureau announces questions for the 2020 Census
2018/03/26 Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross decision memorandum: Reinstatement of a Citizenship Question on the 2020 Decennial Census Questionnaire 8-page memorandum to justify switch of citizenship question from the American Community Survey to the 2020 Census
2017/12/12 Arthur E. Gary, General Counsel at Justice Management Division of the Department of Justice letter to the Census Bureau: Request To Reinstate Citizenship Question On 2020 Census Questionnaire Request from the Department of Justice to “reinstate” the citizenship question in the 2020 Census
2017/03 Census Bureau report: Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey: Federal Legislative and Program Uses Report to Congress is required three years in advance of the Census Day